How to Spatchcock a Chicken or Turkey

Partially debone a chicken or turkey for quick, even cooking and moist meat!

How to Butterfly or Spatchcock a ChickenI asked Chef Hillori of Whole Foods Market to show me – and you – how to spatchcock a chicken. Watch the video to see my very first attempt – if I can do it, you can too. (This was my very first spatchcock, ever. Swear.) Spatchcocked (also called “butterflied”) poultry cooks way faster and more evenly.

Truth: I used to ask the butcher to do all my spatchcocking (and other meat cutting) instead of doing it myself. Let’s be honest – spatchcocking sounds: (1) highly complicated (2) pornographic (3) like something above my pay grade.

But really, it’s none of those things. It’s a really simple way to lay out a whole bird for even cooking and better seasoning coverage, which results in more flavorful, juicier birds cooked in a shorter amount of time. Seriously – we’re talking chicken ready in 35-40 minutes at 400F, and it’s time to eat. It’s a win all around. Some people call it “butterflying” – but that’s not the real name. And if we’re pulling out poultry bones, I think we can use the real term, can’t we folks?

Once you go spatchcock, you’ll never go back.


how to spatchcock a chicken or turkey
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How to Spatchcock a Chicken or Turkey

It's easier than you think to spatchcock a chicken or turkey. Spatchcocked (also called "butterflied") poultry cooks way faster and more evenly.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken recipes, turkey
Servings: 1 bird
Author: K.C. Cornwell


  • Large cutting board
  • Kitchen shears
  • Sharp knife


  • 1 whole Chicken, turkey or other poultry


  • Place the bird on breast-side down on the cutting board.
  • Using the shears, cut along one side of the backbone, from neck to tail.
  • Repeat along the other side of the backbone to remove it. (You can save the backbone to make stock.) Open the chicken up.
  • Use the knife to cut about halfway down the bone at the center of the breast.
  • Flip the bird over, and press firmly on the breast to flatten.
  • Now you’re ready to season the bird and roast or grill!


Watch the video to see how to spatchcock a chicken step-by-step!

how to spatchcock

Photos: Meg van der Kruik


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